This particular article is about the Kirkenes Snowhotel. It is one of two such structural experiences in Norway. The other option for the curious is the Sorrisniva Igloo Hotel in Alta. There is general information about ice hotels here. This includes the appeal, the locations, and the benefits of regional ones, if you are looking for broader topic information.
That being said, the Kirkenes Snowhotel is somewhere worth venturing to. Read on to find out why.
Welcome to the wilderness
Kirkenes is the last stop on the Hurtigruten ferry. The final frontier before the Russian boarder. About as far north as continental Norway extends. If you are looking for remote, quiet, serene beauty, you will find it here. Separated from Norway’s capital by 1,550 miles, a trip to Kirkenes is a trip far into Norway’s Lapland and closer to being one with nature.
While far from the capital, the city is just 10 miles from the Russian boarder, bringing in a unique atmospheric feel. With a mix of Norwegian, Russia, and Sami people, you really get to see the different cultures interact and blend. The streets signs are both in Norwegian and Russian, easing you into your trip to Russia to see the bears and other treasures, if you so desire. Trips across the border are easily arranged from the center of town. Just beware of the visas needed before you leave home.
This ice hotel boasts Norway’s largest ice bar and beautifully constructed ice sculptures. The accommodation uses more than 70 tons of ice to complete this wonderland. Each year, the hotel is rebuilt with tremendous attention to detail, making the interiors of the rooms, and elsewhere, visually stunning. Decorations are never the same, but always amazing. Normal mattresses and beds are used in the rooms to ensure comfort for the overnight guest. They are however, encased by blocks of ice to make it look like you’re sleeping on a bed made of ice.
If you feel like venturing out of the 20 beautiful rooms, the snow hotel also provides a heated service building which holds: showers, toilets, a sauna, and a restaurant serving regional Norwegian dishes. You are free to relax in the Lavvo, a teepee like structure of the Sami people, and visit the reindeer park. If that isn’t enough, lighted ice sculptures, created by artists from Harbin, China (a.k.a. “Ice City”), glow throughout the night to keep those of you who are too excited to sleep entertained.
What else can I do there?
For those looking to add a little more adventure into your exotic stay. The hotel offers may activities you can inquire about when booking.
- King crab fishing tour- Catch, cook, and eat your own delicacy caught straight out of the icy fjord
- Snowmobile – Four hours of snowmobiling and a picnic to enjoy the surroundings
- Northern lights excursions- This is a great location to see the polar lights
- Ice fishing- Eat what you catch. Lots of laughs assured
- Snowshoe walking- 2 hours of walking in snow? I’m sure there must be tips from the experts included
- Reindeer Park- Resident reindeer for you to feed, pet, and befriend
- Dog sledding– Lots of cute huskies around waiting to take you around this arctic wonderland
When to go
Check their website for specific dates as they can vary slightly from year to year.
Generally the Snowhotel is open from 20th December- Late April.
An overnight stay, transportation to and from town, a welcome drink, 3 course dinner, reindeer petting, sauna access, and breakfast.
2500 NOK per person
If you are not staying overnight, you can still come and enjoy the fun. The hotel offers day visits which include: transfers to and from the city, a welcome drink, a tour of the ice suites, a hot drink in the restaurant. It also includes a visit to the reindeer and husky parks for you to make new friends and the possibility to walk on their frozen lake!
500 NOK per person
How to get there
For those of you who are embarking on the Hurtigruten cruise, Kirkenes happens to be the last stop of the ferry. This makes it exceptionally easy to book this lodging for the evening, or even just to visit it while the ship docks.
Daily flights, 2 hours, away from Oslo arrive in Kirkenes via SAS and Norwegian. The airport is about a 15 minute taxi ride to the center of Kirkenes, or there is also an airport bus that stop at the major hotels in town.
Guides will meet you at either the Rica Arctic hotel or the Thon hotel in Kirkenes, in the city, and transport you to the snow hotel by minibus. If you are just visiting for an activity or to see the snow hotel. They offer transportation, for a fee, from Kirkenes airport and Hurtigruten’s port of call.
(opening photo: Linda Martin)
Ranked on the top of National Geographic’s experiences, The Guardian’s best location, and Froder’s top ice hotels, the only thing left to do is to start planning your unforgettable trip!
Let us know if you would stay here!